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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

66          HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

At first there was a certain amount of overlapping in the
work done by the various schools. Some of the ludi gave a
training in literature, and even so late as the end of the First
Century A.D. the grammar schools sometimes attempted advanced
instruction in rhetoric. But in course of time the Roman genius
for organization brought about a more or less definite limitation
of functions and produced a graded arrangement of schools which
continued without substantial change from the middle of the
First Century B.C. till the fall of the Empire. The general order
of instruction is clearly shown by a curious passage in the Florida
(20) of Apuleius (Second Century A.D.). " At a meal," he says,
" the first cup is for the satisfaction of thirst, the second for
joviality, the third for sensuality, the fourth for madness. In the
banquets of the Muses, on the contrary, the more we get to drink
the more our souls gain in wisdom and sanity. The first cup,
given us by the litterator, removes the rudeness of our mind;
then that of the grammarian (grammaticus) adorns us with
learning; and, finally, that of the rhetorician furnishes us with
eloquence."

The school of the litterator was the Indus or elementary school,
which in earlier times had been the only school in Rome. Thither
boys, and sometimes girls, of all ranks and classes, went at the
age of six or seven under the guardianship of a pedagogue, who,
like his Greek prototype, was a slave. The quality of the in-
struction received there seems generally to have been rather poor.
It was confined to reading, writing and counting. Like the
teachers of the old adventure schools in our own country, whom
he resembled, the litterator or ludi magister was held in low esteem
and badly paid.

At the age of twelve or thirteen the boys of the better classes
passed on to the school of the grammarian to begin a course of
instruction in " grammar." (Those girls whose education was
continued beyond the elementaiy stage got their " grammar "
at home.) " Grammar," we are told by Quintilian in the first
book of his treatise on The Education of an Orator, " comprises
two parts—the art of correct speech, and the explanation of the
poets "; that is to say, grammar in the modern sense of the term,
and literature. The study of the first of these occupied a large
part of the schoolboy's time. For a textbook he had the Greek
grainmar of Dionysius Thrax, a disciple of Aristarchus of